A light breeze blows in from the Gulf. A bright sun shines bright in the clear sky and the beach is rocking. It is day one of the 6th largest outdoor musical festival to hit the shores of Alabama. A large group of organizers with over 1500 staffed employees, have done a truly incredible job of securing local, regional and national acts for the three stage festival. There is a little of something for everyone; from jam bands, indie, jazz, blues, funk, and of course rock and roll- no one is left out of the Festival on the shores. Fans bought tickets in all 50 states and in over a dozen countries. Every race, age, color and economic background was represented in the 35,000 people in attendance.
This year’s festival promised to be family friendly. Offering a Sony Playstation Area for the gamers, Shaka Island kids zone with stage, interactive activities and more and a tour of the John Lennon Educational Bus. For those into healthy living early morning yoga classes were offered on the beach with renowned instructor Kelly Morris. New this year was the festivals Boom Boom Room, a new dance tent hosting daytime concerts and separately ticketed late night shows. The Boom-Boom, a tented side stage hosted electronic acts Beats Antique and Bassnectar on Friday.
When Beats Antique took the stage, the tent took on an almost tribal air, as the hula hoops came out and the barely clad gyrated to belly dance techno.
Brandi Carlile preformed on the Surf Style Stage early in the day playing songs from her upcoming album. Carlile delivered a wide-ranging set that even featured a cover of “Forever Young.” Not the Bob Dylan song, but the one from ’80s German synthpop group “Alphaville.” Meeting the Twins later in the afternoon was a special treat. These guys have the most beautiful smiles and amazing upbeat personalities I look forward to seeing much more of them in the future.
Later in the afternoon, Grace Pottter And The Nocturnals took the stage and it felt like the festival grounds had reached total capacity. Negotiating the crowds became a huge issue, with people laying out in the sand, and everyone working towards securing the best spot on the beach. Potter, who played Gulf Shores Hangout last year, called the scene from the stage “too beautiful for words.” Potter sported a gold mini skit and almost transparent top, Potter sashayed around the stage, trading off on guitar and piano, at one point belting out a cover of Heart’s “Crazy On You.”
This is all I got cause ummmm, in true festival style, I was hungover and missed the rest!!
The day ended with Wide Spread Panic.
Thanks to the great photos of festival by Dave Vann and Josh Rhinehart.